This is my best work this year. I’m really proud of this one.
because they know your smile is some saccharine attempt
to avoid saying anything that might wake them up,
shake them up and maybe lift them up
out of their arrogant haze of ridicule and back-handed compliments.
If you need to say it, say it.
If they need to hear it, open your damn mouth and speak.
Do it now.
Stop splitting yourself between who you are
and some worn out impression that would make the members of Stepford proud.
You don’t owe it to the world to be a “good girl” or sweet.
You owe it to yourself to be human.
You owe it to yourself to embrace this brief moment on earth
in this temporary earthbound vehicle
with the tenacity of a maenad dancing with delirium in her tribute to Dionysus.
Don’t be torn.
Let self-love burn with a flame that could
destroy every layer of insecurity that has kept you barely hanging on.
Embrace the challenges of life.
Deal with blatant disrespect and malice like a woman preparing for war.
Live this short life with a passion that would make
Charon himself hesitate to take you on your final ferry ride.
Because there are beings out there far more menacing than meddling relatives,
dissatisfied coworkers, hostile strangers, and hateful friends.
And they seek you out with gnashing teeth and possess a hatred
that could eclipse the sun for a thousand years.
You will meet them.
This day will come.
I won’t tolerate you acquiescing to fear.
I need you strong.
I noticed something brush my lip as I was taking a sip from my favorite cup,
and saw a small, dead lizard.
He was floating in the fetal position, his pale, green body in the shape
of the crescent moon outside my window.
Although it was dead, it took forever for me to pick up the cup,
convinced he was playing possum and waiting for the moment
to lunge at my timid hand.
It’s happened before.
Eventually, I released him from his watery grave
when I poured him out onto the ground outside.
But I felt a twinge of remorse leaving it
to fester outside without a proper goodbye.
Surely, he must of thought he was taking a nice swim
in a cool, black lake when he crawled in,
unaware that emerging would prove more difficult,
and that the cup contained quite an acidic combination
of lime and water which I’m sure was overwhelming
for his reptilian constitution.
I descended the stairs, and used my foot to bury him under an inch of dirt.
But as I made my way inside, my curious cat, Jack, took his inquisitive paw
and excavated the burial place of the lime soaked creature.
And with an arrogant disregard for rituals beyond his own,
as cats are prone to do,
he ate it.
My cousin asked me how long I would be in school,
using the judgmental tone that implies a backhanded complimented
was well under way.
“I thought you’d be in New York, working for some major magazine by now.” she said.
This is the moment when I usually sit there with some synthetic smile,
engineered through years of programming and being told,
“It’s better to go along to get along.” and “Don’t rock the boat.”
But where there is usually some sinking feeling of failure,
there was a small, burning ember of something I hadn’t felt in a while.
I had been ignited.
My destination may not be in some big, glamorous city as you imagined, dear cousin.
Or maybe it is.
I may not have taken the path that’s worn down with the steps
of those who found some immortal purpose long before I.
But, now, I finally believe!
I no longer awake to gentle rays peeking through my curtains,
afraid of all I might not accomplish.
I’m no longer beaten down by anxiety over judgmental implications
that I didn’t do it “the right way” as if there is only one way.
But not unlike the petals of the tenacious dandelion,
my head is filled with ideas that take root in the earth’s hot belly.
and then bud, bloom, soar, and stretch to the farthest ends of the planet.
I don’t need you to have faith in me.
I don’t need you to understand the journey I take,
which has sometimes made me feel like I was a lonesome sailor at sea.
Do not enter these vast waters with doubt and criticism.
Don’t tell me “what I should have done by now.”
Don’t tempt the God that was always at my side
when you left it without hesitation or remorse.
I am learning how to steer this ship,
and the winds of Zephyros are in now in my favor.
I meditate on the quiet elegance of the cool breeze on this rainy day
while I drink spicy ginger tea.
I listen to the cacophonous symphony of raindrops
whose lineage stems back to the omnipresent sky
and the vast, eternal sea from which I was also born.
Across the street are empty lots, now inhabited by trees
that seem to reach for nourishment.
With a guttural demand, Zeus sends down the rain
and soon the street is a river,
my car an empty boat,
my roof an unrelenting waterfall
and my porch a small shore.
I remove my glasses that are at best redundant,
and descend the cement steps.
My blurry vision reminds me of a soft focus photograph,
immortalized and forever slightly out of focus.
But I can still see lightning strike
as my grandma speeds by in her blue car, honking the horn.
I jump into a large puddle
The earthy, metallic smell, petrichor, proves intoxicating as eager mud
wedges itself between my toes, adapting and changing form.
Rain falls into my eyes like
tenacious raindrops on a windshield
covered in permanent smudge marks.
The large, haunting trees across the street
remind me of the trees that surrounded our apartment in Georgia.
Tall, imposing things shaped like humans, the size of giants,
that would inspire fear and awe if they were
to rub the sleep from their eyes
and notice you.
I sometimes stare at those trees
and imagine what unknown creatures,
disgruntled by my exploration, would come crawling out.
I won’t take any chances today.
Instead I spin like a dervish.
Unsuccessfully, I admit.
But I’m sure Mother Nature will forgive
my clumsy attempt to impersonate Turkish monks.
Suddenly, I notice the faint smell of garlic bread as it passes through
the lousy screen of our front door.
Despite my ecstasy, mom’s spaghetti is becoming an increasingly
more tempting endeavor and now the thunder of Zeus
resides in my empty stomach.
I pray the rain continues throughout the night as I ascend the cement steps.
I put on my glasses, sight returned, and say a silent prayer:
When my candle burns out, my final goodbye a wisp of smoke,
grant me a sanctuary that exceeds the dreams of every solitary pluviophile.
Give me a library, vast and infinite.
Rainy days, surrounded by warm blankets and kitchen shelves filled
with every flavor of tea you can find.
Surround me with friends who will hold me close everyday
and an ocean of mermaids who will teach me every song they know.
And, oh yeah! Mom’s spaghetti, too!
Give me this, and I promise that when I have learned my final lesson
on this three-dimensional plane,
and you extend your hand to me in the coming dawn,
I will go willingly.
Standing in the breezeway
trying to avoid getting wet
as the rain hits the pavement
with playful abandon
uncaring of its inevitable destiny
of rejoining the collective.
My nocturnal struggle with anxiety
has a hold on me that predicts future victory…
until I step out into the rain.
I make a dash for the back door
but the closer I get, the harder it rains
and I slip and slide in my sandals
like a horse in stilettos
surrounded by meddlesome children.
Eventually I let go
and accept the gentle reprieve from my nightly tango with sorrow
that I can only assume has been granted by God himself.
I laugh with an abandon that I thought had been lost to me
as each drop of rain weaves its way
into the fabric of my clothes.
“Are you happy now, anxious child of mine?”
“Yes, I am.”
via Daily Prompt: Distant
Sitting in front of a future former friend,
watching her read several dire text messages
she feels she must read lest her life ends before the setting sun,
suddenly less depressed, less stressed after dumping her troubles
in your lap that equals the weight of the emotional baggage you already carry.
Stuck in that strange limbo of patience and nakedness,
waiting for the moment she looks up to acknowledges you exist,
but feeling isolated when she says, “it won’t take long”
before returning to a conversation she seems exponentially more interested in.
Anxiety grabs hold and you wonder if she even wants to be there with you,
or if she is making plans to spend time with them and how long it will take
after her phone call before she creates some transparent excuse to go.
Your intuition magnifies the fear as she finally hangs up and you can
already see the epilogue in her eyes that carry that translucent excuse
you know too well and have heard too many times before.
You sit there, feeling the way you always feel after these one-sided exchanges.
Used. Raw. Exposed.
Like some carcass split open by the front end of a Toyota truck
and left to lay open and bleeding in the Texas heat.
I had as much to say
I had as much to cry, scream, complain and rant about.
In that moment I needed you too.
But the annoying chime on your phone seems to cast some technological spell
that keeps you enamored and unaware that your so-called friend is drowning
in sorrow that an open ear could assuage.
If only for a while.
I decided to start a blog for one simple reason: It seemed like the answer that was always right under my nose. I have always been a reserved and introspective person so I guess it goes without saying that I spend a lot of time in my head lol. I recently had a discussion with a close friend who thought it would be a good idea to start a blog and it just clicked. I can do the one thing I love more than anything, which is writing, and I now have a platform to do it. I’ve always admired those who were brave enough to send send their thoughts and creative projects out into the world despite any potential scrutiny or judgement. I think I’m ready to do the same. I look forward to seeing and reading the work of others as much as I am to creating my own.